The 3rd generation iPad — implications for gamers

A few hours ago Apple introduced the new iPad. Among all the improvements the device offers (check out our coverage here), the Retina display and the A5X processor have the biggest implications for gamers, game publishers and gaming hardware producers.

The iPad now sports a display with 2048 X 1536px resolution, which is higher than what people commonly call “full HD”, meaning 1920 X 1080px resolution. Combine that with the size of the display itself (9.7”-inch diagonally), and you get a device with a 264 ppi (pixels per inch) — which is almost sharper than a Hattori Hanzo sword. For comparison’s sake: Microsoft’s XBOX 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3 deliver 1080p signals to the attached screens and televisions.

Apple also equipped the 3rd generation iPad with a quad-core graphics chip, which, as demonstrated at the event, is more than capable of producing high-end graphics at the iPad’s native resolution.

So what does it mean for gamers?

Well, once developers have adjusted their games to the new specs, consumers will get console quality graphics and an incredible gaming experience on their tablets. Sharper looking, better and even more immersive games will be possible.

Game publishers will have to adjust to this, as creating a great game for the new iPad will take more work and more time, because of the increased requirements for the graphics. On the other hand, it’ll start to make sense to “just” port PC and console quality games directly to the iPad and think of means to reduce cross-platform development costs, because iOS and the new iPad are here to stay.

Gaming hardware producers should start to think of new and innovative products sooner rather than later. This might seem like hyperbole, but as of today Apple isn’t just competing with the Sony PSP Vita, the PSP Go and the Nintendo 3DS anymore; instead, they’re competing with the competition’s top of the line living room consoles — the Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, and Nintendo Wii.

Yes, the iPad is no console that you can put into your living room, or is it? The Apple TV allows streaming your iPad’s content (music, video and game picture) to the TV for a while now, serving basically as a wireless hub for your big honking TV. You can also bet that game publishers will find ways to make not just the personal gaming experience better, but also ways to make the 3rd generation iPad an actual console for you to use with your friends all together in front of the TV.

iOS devices have changed the way most people think about games, whether you’re talking about pricing, downloadable content or overall quality. The new iPad will change what people expect of tablets, portable consoles and living room consoles from here on out.

Photo Credit: Ian D

Besides his current full-time job as a student of Sinology and Marketing at the University of Trier, Germany, Alex likes to read about technology and the businesses behind it. He also has a personal blog.